Thu, Jul 09, 2009 - Page 3 News List

DPP bars party members from forum in China

By Rich Chang and Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTERS

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday passed a regulation barring party members who have served as party or elected officials from participating in this weekend’s Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)-Chinese Communist Party (CCP) forum.

Acting DPP spokesman Chao Tien-lin (趙天麟) said yesterday that DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) introduced the proposal at the party’s Central Executive Committee meeting and it was unanimously approved.

The proposal stipulates that DPP members who have served as party or elected officials and who attend the forum will be strictly disciplined.

Chao said the DPP opposed the KMT-CCP forum because it violated the democratic process by discussing cross-strait affairs on the party level.

The KMT had said former DPP legislator Hsu Jung-shu and former Council of Agriculture minister Fan Chen-tsung (范振宗) would join KMT Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) and the KMT delegation at the fifth KMT-CCP forum on Saturday and Sunday in Changsha, Hunan Province.

KMT Secretary-General Wu Den-yi (吳敦義) had said Hsu and Fan were invited to the forum by the CCP, adding that an increasing number of DPP members believe cross-strait exchanges are important.

The DPP said Fan's party membership has long been suspended. However, Hsu is a senior DPP member and should not attend the forum, the DPP said, calling on her not to take part.

KMT Spokesman Lee Chien-jung (李建榮) criticized the DPP for refusing to acknowledge that cross-strait exchanges were positive.

Lee urged the DPP to change its policies and communicate with China openly.

“The DPP’s attitude is rigid and regressive, and such an attitude will have a negative impact on the development of cross-strait relations,” he said.

Lee urged the DPP to respect the right of its members to attend the forum.

Meanwhile, the KMT said yesterday that the delegation to the forum would include about 270 people, including Hsu and Fan.

The forum will address the issue of cross-strait cultural and educational exchanges in addition to economic issues, Chang Jung-kung (張榮恭), director of the KMT’s Chinese Affairs Department, said yesterday at party headquarters.

As the focus of the forum will be culture and education, several government officials from the Ministry of Education, the Council of Cultural Affairs and the Government Information Office will also attend, he said.

Concerning the participation of DPP members, Chang said the KMT had invited the DPP to join the forum last year, but no DPP members had accepted the invitation.

“We are glad to see DPP members attend this year’s forum at the invitation of China,” Chang said.

Wu is scheduled to meet People’s Political Consultative Conference Chairman Jia Qinglin (賈慶林) on Saturday to open the forum.

Chang said Wu might not meet Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) during the trip as the forum would not take place in Beijing.

Meanwhile, KMT Spokesman Lee Chien-jung (李建榮) said yesterday that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), the only candidate in the party’s chairmanship election, would visit cities and counties around the nation starting on Sunday to solicit support from party members.

The president will conduct election activities on the weekends and after work hours, Lee said.

The election will be held on July 26. Ma is expected to take over the chairmanship in September.

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